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By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Chris Drury admits that he had some mixed feelings when he met with the doctor at Madison Square Garden on Sunday because he had been down this road before when he thought his broken finger had healed, only to learn that X-rays told a different story.
So when the doctor reviewed the latest X-rays on Sunday and cleared Drury to return to game action for the first time since Oct. 15, the Rangers’ captain was thrilled to know that this long and unfamiliar ordeal of being out of the lineup was soon to be over.
“It felt really good to hear the great news on Sunday because, obviously, it’s been a long time with the back-to-back injuries,” said Drury. “I was still thinking cautious, and not trying to get all hyped up, just in case it needed more time. I thought going into the six-week test it was pretty good, but the x-rays showed otherwise. But I am excited to finally being coming back.”
|Rangers captain Chris Drury, who has 34 points in 39 career games against the Penguins, returns to the Blueshirts lineup on Wednesday night against the Penguins at Pittsburgh. Drury has missed all but one game so far this season with a broken finger. |
Drury has played in only one game so far this season, but even that was for only part of the contest. After breaking his index finger during training camp, he returned to action at the home opener mid-October against the Maple Leafs. During that game, Drury suffered incredible bad luck when he broke the same finger again -- this time in two places -- following a collision with teammate Michal Rozsival.
For a player who had never played in fewer than 71 games over his 11-year career, the prolonged absence was a stunning and difficult development.
“If I can be fresher because I’ve missed 11 weeks, then maybe that’s the positive out of all this,” said Drury. “We’re planning on a long season, so I’ll be ready.”
Drury was one of four forwards sharing time on the fourth line during practice on Tuesday, although Rangers head coach John Tortorella emphasized that Drury “will play” Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Tortorella also indicated that Sean Avery
will also play on that line, and a decision would be made on Wednesday as to whether Todd White or Erik Christensen would be scratched to make room for Drury.
“We won’t upset the apple cart (by juggling lines), but we will find ways to play Chris in different situations,” said Tortorella. “This isn’t a bad thing, and it won’t hamper us. It’s a good thing getting Dru back, and (the lines) will work itself out.”
As for Drury, he is just eager to get back to work and return to game action.
“Wherever the coach says that’s where I’ll go,” said Drury. “I’ve said it before, whatever role (Tortorella) wants me to play, that’s the role I will play. And I will give it my best effort”.
A strong faceoff man, as well as one of the elite penalty-killers in the league, Drury will help the Rangers in many ways on the ice. Considering the success that this 18-13-1 team has had without its captain in the lineup, it would be hard to imagine that the Blueshirts will not be that much better and more successful upon Drury’s return.
“Getting Dru back on the ice and back for the games is huge for us,” said defenseman Marc Staal
. “He will help us in so many ways. And we’re all very excited to have him back in the lineup.”